All around the sports coverage industry, publications are telling their insiders to dig up any trade rumor they can possibly find and, more specifically, the more often they can link to the Lakers, the better. Now that we are heading into trade talk season, the lack of any real noise has been impossible to ignore.
So, what gives? How can we be this far into a season without a trade having been made, LeBron James repeatedly calling out the front office for its inaction and yet still be sitting here in relative silence?
I guess I should mention here that the Lakers are reportedly among teams still interested in Cam Reddish. But even to that point, how interested are you actually if the price of Kendrick Nunn and a second rounder is still not something you’re willing to bite on? More to my point, though, given the opportunity facing the Lakers, you’d think there’d be more than this out there.
So, again, where are the rumors and what should we take from this silence? Well, there are a few factors at play:
Tim Connelly, Marc Lore and Alex Rodriguez broke the NBA. If Rudy Gobert can fetch 37 or however many first rounders, than just about any player who affects winning in any way is probably worth at least one — at least that’s how selling general managers are going to feel. Combine that with the impact the play-in game and flattened lottery odds have had on the trade market even before that asinine deal and it’s probably going to take a while before things normalize.
Anthony Davis’ Injury
Yes, optimism is on the rise for a Davis return and if he regains the level he was playing at before he went down with James playing the way he has, then the Lakers would have a very real chance at playing their way into legitimate playoff positioning. From there, it would be hard not to favor them in just about any seven-game series depending on what their supporting cast looks like.
All that said, given how little it took for Davis to miss what will likely be 20-plus consecutive games and as we’ve seen him return from injury only to head right back to the disabled list, no one can seriously claim to feel all that confident in his availability for the remainder of the season and into the playoffs. It’s hard to imagine the Lakers will make any significant move until they see Davis back on the court and gauge the likelihood he stays there.
Sports Executives Are Eternal Procrastinators
Semi-serious, mostly facetious question: If there was no trade deadline, would there just be no in-season trades?
Executives in professional sports love taking their time on their tasks at hand more than just about anyone outside of college students and even there, it’s probably a push. Buyers are currently waiting for prices to drop. Sellers are hoping more buyers keep calling so they can keep their prices where they stand. Regardless of the endgame, you just don’t see teams make moves until they have to.
Take Reddish, for example. The Knicks traded a first-rounder for him only just last season. Now, they’re willing to part with him for contracts that match his salary (because they have to) and a second round pick. For New York, why trade him now given how low is value is? For other teams, given the way his stock has fallen, why not wait to see how much further it dips?
So, we wait.
Now, as it pertains to the lack of new information regarding the Lakers’ efforts, well, one of two situations might be playing out. Either the Lakers have closed off the streams of information as they buckle down as an organization (feels unlikely) or there just isn’t anything new to report. There are really only so many ways you can say “the Lakers are offering some combination of Patrick Beverley, Nunn or in some cases Russell Westbrook plus maybe one of those two first-round picks for (insert good player here).”
The other possibility, as painful as it might be to think about is, well, help isn’t coming. Maybe there isn’t noise surrounding the Lakers because they aren’t making the necessary noise. They’ve made excuses at every turn not to make a trade. Maybe we just haven’t been getting the message.
Either way, as soon as there is new information to relay, we’ll have more to talk about. Until then, we can sit back and marvel at the only thing Gobert has stopped this are any other trades across the rest of the league.
This week on “I Loathe Basketball,” Harrison Faigen and I discuss all that, Reddish, and a listener figuring out my tricks and ruining my entire career.
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And for a short-form recap pod, check out Lakers Lowdown, in which Anthony Irwin recaps the previous day’s news and gets you ready for the day ahead in LakerLand, every weekday morning on the Silver Screen & Roll Podcast feed.